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Why Are Mass Killers So Hard To Predict?

May 27, 2014 by  

Why Are Mass Killers So Hard To Predict?, Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes. Sandy Hook school attacker Adam Lanza. And now Elliot Rodger.

All were young loners with no criminal history who went on shooting sprees, leaving devastated families in their wake.

Mass murderers tend to have a history of pent-up frustration and failures, are socially isolated and vengeful, blaming others for their unhappiness, experts say.

“They all display deluded thinking and a lot of rage about feeling so marginalized,” James Garbarino, a professor of psychology at Loyola University Chicago, said in an email.

Since mass killings are extremely rare, scholars say there’s no way to predict who has deadly intentions, let alone who will reach a breaking point and take action.

Past violence is a clue, but in Rodger’s case, police did not see him as a threat to himself or others during a welfare check weeks before Friday night’s rampage near the University of California, Santa Barbara that left six victims dead and 13 injured.

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